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Entries in Worry (6)

Thursday
Apr062017

Let Us Spray

In Rhonda Rhea's case, the funnybone connects to the heart! In this Prayer UPGRADE, she encourages us to spend time where our strength lies.

"Sometimes I’m tempted to take some time off from hairspray," Rhonda says. "Sometime when I’m planning to go nowhere. And I mean absolutely nowhere. I think I would call it a spray-cation."

Don't get me (Dawn) started on hairspray. It's been a long time since my free-flowing "hippie" years. Now I'm in the "helmet" stage—as in, you couldn't dent my hair!

Rhonda continues . . .

It’s funny because I almost remember what it was like to freely run my fingers through my hair. It’s been a long time, though.

These days I invest in a lot of hair products. The fingers may go in, but I’m telling you right now. They’re not coming out.

I have to keep the crazy assortment of hair sprays, gels, mousses and goops, because it takes a different concoction for every style. A brew for every do, as it were.

When constructing an up-do, for instance, you sort of have to pour footings. I use a product that’s referred to as styling mousse, but I think it might actually be some sort of rebar.

Still—not to split hairs or anything—but it’s good to remember that if you don’t want to have to wrestle with your hair, you have to start with a good goo-foundation.

As for real life battles, if you want victory there, you have to start with a good spiritual foundation. You have to invest.

Time invested in connecting with the Father in prayer is absolutely vital.

  • Are you wrestling with your flesh on some issue or another? Take it to Him.
  • Struggling with a decision? Lay it at His feet.
  • Grappling with a fearful situation that has your hair standing on end—even before the mousse? Spend time with Him and the battle is all but over.

The God who created everything, the One who never tires, the One who has all power and who also promises to grant strength to those who will rely on Him—He is the One who will give victory. There’s not a single battle we can ever face that He doesn’t have the power to win.

Isaiah 40:28-31 spells it out.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow wear, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (HCSB).

So it’s eyes off of the battle that threatens to overwhelm us. And eyes on the God who simply cannot be overwhelmed.

The evil one wants to keep us focused on the problems, frustrations and pains of the battle. But the Lord wants us to take our eyes off all of that and fix them firmly on Him. More firmly fixed than the surest hair-glue.

We can do that through prayer. And that’s where our strength will be found.

Feeling weary? Powerless? Like you could easily stumble and fall?

Without a doubt, the best place to fall is to your knees.

Trust in the One who will be your strength. Fall before Him in prayer and you will find everything you need for soaring—really soaring—through every battle.

You win. And it’s the kind of victory that’s sure and complete.

Not the kind you win by just by a hair.

Are you trusting in your own strength today? Isn't it time for a talk with your Father in heaven?

Friends, "Let us spray."

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Thursday
Mar092017

Daaa-Dum... Daaa-Dum... Daa-Dum... Daa-Dum.

Nothing surprises me when I read something from Kaley Faith Rhea or her mom, Rhonda. These two combine humor with wise insights every time. In this UPLIFT post, Kaley helps us combat worry.

"You know how a lot of times you’ll have your deepest, most philosophically significant thoughts in the solitude of the shower or bathtub?" Kaley asks. "Allow me to share an example of ... NOT that."

Didn't I (Dawn) tell you? Insights from a bathtub? Of course.

Kaley continues . . .

The other night I was tired. Not exhausted. Just that mid-week fatigue that crops up now and again.

Decided to take a bath. Because that sounds like pure heaven for a tired person.

My tired brain was, I suppose, off doing its own thing, and I nicked my knee while shaving my legs. Little bit of blood, no big deal; you know the drill.

In that moment, the thought that formed in my mind while watching that little bit of blood in the water was:

Uh, oh. I had better watch out for sharks.

Yes, go ahead and read that thought again as slowly and as condescendingly as you can. It’s fine.

Because I worried about sharks. While sitting in my bathtub.

      

If I could just take a moment here—I live in Missouri. Probably the most landlocked state in the United States. If TV and books and the internet weren’t around, I would not know an animal called a shark exists.

And none of that’s even relevant actually because sharks do not happen in bathtubs. At least not by accident. Brain, what were you doing?

Later, after the bath (because this is not a story of deep shower thoughts), it hit me how my mind is so programmed to worry.

I can worry in my sleep. Without breaking a sweat—without even noticing—I can worry about things that are irrelevant, implausible or imaginary.

That is where my mind, in its natural state, wants to live.

That is not a happy place to live. There are sharks there apparently.

Philippians 4, verse 6 reads, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I hear and see this verse quoted a lot. Maybe you do, too, and you’re like me and think Okay, easier said than done, Paul, thanks.

But have you noticed this verse does not begin with a capital letter? There is a run-up to this statement in verse 5 that causes it to make so much more sense. It says simply, “The Lord is at hand.”

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious…”

Let me tell you, something, friend. If I am at hand, you need to be anxious. If you are at hand, worry is the completely correct response. But the Lord is at hand. Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became flesh, the One through whom everything that is made has been made, the defeater of death, our champion, risen from the grave—He is at hand. Don’t worry.

Furthermore—and I love this—when the Lord is at hand, instead of worrying, I can pray. When the Lord is at hand, I can check my arrogance at the door. When the Lord is at hand, I can be thankful.

What?

I have a brain built here in a fallen world. It will tell me the appropriate response to every cut and scrape is to worry about sharks.

And you know what? Sometimes there really are sharks out there. But how wonderful to know my Lord knows this. He knit my brain together. And in his incomprehensible kindness, He’s already told me what to do when I feel worried. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel so loved.

Final Words:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a).

A prayer when faced by our sharks, real or imagined:

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for being everything I need. For being bigger than my darkest fears and for loving me enough to allow me to draw close to You when I’m anxious. When I am tempted to give in to worry, renew my mind, Lord, by Your Spirit, and set it on you. AMEN!

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, a novel releasing in a few weeks. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Tuesday
Jan242017

3 Ways Worry Hurts Your Kids

Cindi McMenamin is a wise woman with a heart for women and families. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she asks us to examine how our worrying might not just be our own problem.

“It’s natural for a mom to worry that her children will be hurt," Cindi says, "but do you and I ever consider how we might be hurting our children by worrying about them?”

Whenever I (Dawn) see a mom in a worried state, I watch her children. It's so apparent how a mom's worries and fears affect little ones!

Cindi continues . . .

Take a look at what worry does to us, and ultimately, to our children:

1. Worry Stresses Us Out - Which Stresses Out Our Kids

Worry causes stress—and stress kills. Literally.

Stress not only impacts a woman's health, appearance, relationships, and overall quality of life, stress prematurely ages us. Worry is also linked to ulcers and other health problems.

So when you are worrying and stressed out, you are stressing out your children, as well.

By choosing not to worry, you are investing in your health, which is a gift to yourself and your family.

2. Worry Pushes Our Children Away.

One of the reasons children grow up and stop telling their parents what is going on in their lives is because they “don’t want mom to worry.”

When I was writing my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I asked daughters, ages 12-40, about their relationships with their moms. Through their answers, I discovered that most daughters, regardless of their ages, said their moms worried about them too much.

They knew mom cared for them, but it concerned them, and at times annoyed them, that their mothers worried so much.

By choosing not to worry, you are investing in your relationship with your children and keeping the channels of communication open with them, regardless of their ages.  

3. Worry Models Mistrust to Our Children.

Worry says to our children and others: "God can't work this out." Therefore, worry is the sin of having no confidence in God.

I know that you, like me, aren’t consciously thinking those words when you worry. But I also know you don’t want to display that type of mistrust to your children.

How we live will, to a great degree, impact how our children live. What we worry about, they will tend to worry about.

On the flip side of that, where we put our trust will greatly impact how they will choose to handle situations in life, too.

Even if they don't imitate your faith or degree of trust, they will know on Whom you rely (or don’t rely) and it speaks louder to them than any lecture. 

The choices we make—including whether we decide to worry or trust God—will no doubt influence our children's choices well into their adulthood.

We tend to think that how much we worry is an indication of how much we love our children. But it is actually an indication of how little we know God. Because the more we get to know God as the all-knowing, all-loving, Perfect Parent, the more easily we will trust Him with what is most important to us and experience peace, no matter what happens.

God gave us a formula in His Word to help us stop the worry:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

The very next verse tells us how to stop the worrying, so we can experience that kind of peace that comes through praying about everything:

"… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" (verse 8).

There it is.

  • Think about what is true, not what “might happen.”
  • Focus on the facts of the situation, not your fears.
  • Think on God’s character—that which is honorable and pure and lovely and admirable—and what He can do, not the worst possible scenario.

As you focus on God’s goodness, God’s love, and God’s ability to control all that you cannot, there is no room in your mind for fear or worry.

Trust God with your children. He can control all you think you must and all you are convinced you can’t. And He knows exactly what He’s doing in your child’s life – and yours.

What will you start doing today to stop worrying about your children and start trusting God with them?

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and popular author who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter,  and her  newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, upon which this post is based.  For more on her ministry, discounts on her books, or free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesty of stocksnap.io.

Tuesday
Apr122016

Rely on God through Your Child's Difficult Phase

Cindi McMenamin is committed to helping women find strength for the soul. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she reminds us God can strengthen us during our children's toughest "phases."

“Most of our children’s difficult phases are temporary," Cindi says, "but how we choose to handle them can have more lasting impact.”

I think I (Dawn) was one of those blessed moms. I don't remember a difficult phase in my sons' lives. They were relatively "easy." But as I watched some of my friends' struggles with their kids, I also  observed how much they called out to God for help to "get through" those days. Wise words here from Cindi.

She continues  . . .

Most of the things we worry about come down to a phase our kids are going through. A phase that eventually ends and then our kids seem normal again.

As I wrote my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom I interviewed moms of children going through the “questioning” stage, the “testing” stage, and the “lack of motivation” stage, to name just a few.

In some cases the phase lasted only a few months. In most cases, it lasted about a year. But in every case I've seen or heard about, it was a limited time – a short season of a child’s life.

One mom summed it up like this:  

“Every phase my kids went through, whether good or bad, seemed to change over time. I spent a lot of time worrying about something that wasn’t even an issue a year later.”

  • Worry negatively affects our health.
  • Worry damages our relationship with our children by making them not want to tell us what is going on in their lives.
  • And worry models to our children a lack of trust in God.

So there has to be another way to deal with their difficult phases.

Philippians 4:6 commands us:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (NLT).

Here are some practical ways to keep this command to not worry—and keep your sanity—when your child is going through a difficult stage:   

1. Learn to Respond, Rather Than React.

When we react, rather than respond to our children’s behavior, it can escalate a situation between a parent and child, especially if you are reacting emotionally to something you don't understand (like your child's choice of dress or unusual request).

Instead of reacting to something your child might say from a bad attitude or an irrational thought, respond by calmly saying "Tell me more about that.”

2. Learn to Laugh.

It helps to have a sense of humor.  

See the “stage” as something to look back and laugh about later.

3. Learn to Count it Out.

One mom told me she "counts to ten" in every situation where she's tempted to blow.

Being patient by taking a deep breath and counting makes sure we are not as impulsive and emotional in our responses, as our children are in their actions.

4. Learn from Moms Who Have Been There.

God many times speaks to us through the wisdom of others. Talk to godly moms who are facing the same things with their kids and can offer sound biblical insight.

If you don't have a group of moms around you who can give you biblical advice, find a Moms in Prayer group at your children’s school or find a moms group at your local church.

5. Lean on God and His Word.

In Psalm 16:8, David said:

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Life’s circumstances can shake us. Our children’s constant changes can take us by surprise and rattle us. But you can have the kind of confidence David had when he said “I will not be shaken.”

As you lean on God, who never changes, and His Word, which is rock solid, you can stand firmly and be a steady, immovable force in your child's life no matter what he or she is going through and no matter what changes are swirling around you.

Which step will you take to keep from worrying during your child’s difficult phase?

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and her newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.  For more on her ministry, books, or free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Idahoeditor_Morguefile.

Thursday
May072015

The Secret to Confident Mothering

Author and speaker Becky Harling impresses me as a woman who makes wise choices, and in this Parenting UPGRADE, she highlights the powerful choice to practice praising God in the home.

“Motherhood is a crazy journey, simultaneously wonderful and terrifying,” Becky says. “I know because I’ve been there.”

I (Dawn) remember those young days of motherhood. I worried about a lot of things when my boys were little. I wish I'd had someone like Becky to whisper words of peace to my heart.

Becky continues . . .

I’ve raised four kids and now have five grandchildren. While I enjoyed much of my parenting journey, I struggled with a lot of anxiety. There were days when I wondered if I would lose my mind or, worse, if I would mess up their minds.

I lived in fear that, because of me, my kids might have to spend thousands of dollars on therapy! A therapist friend of mine has a pillow siting on the couch in her office that says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother!” 

Well, into my parenting journey, I began a new spiritual practice that not only enhanced my relationship with God, but it also made me a more confident mother and strengthened my relationships with my children.

I began the practice right after being diagnosed with cancer.

If anything throws a curve ball into your parenting, it’s cancer. As I was grappling with the severity of that diagnosis, a friend challenging me,

“Becky, will you praise God for twenty minutes a day even as you walk through cancer?” 

Initially, I thought that was a lame idea! I mean honestly, I didn’t exactly feel like jumping up and down shouting, “Hallelujah, I’m facing a double mastectomy.” But, after considering my options, I decided to take my friend’s challenge. What I experienced radically changed my life.

I began INTENTIONALLY praising God daily for what He was doing in my kids’ lives and in mine.

I praised Him that cancer wasn’t catching Him off guard and that I could trust Him with our family’s future.

Trust me, there were moments when I didn’t feel like it! But as I continued, I learned that praising God isn’t just some glib hallelujah when finances are prospering, your health is flourishing, and your family is thriving.

Praising God is the intentional declaration by faith that exalts God above your life circumstances.

  • I praised God for His sovereign control over the lives my children.
  • I exalted Him that He loved my kids even more than I did.
  • I worshipped Him as the Almighty One who was able to do beyond what I could even imagine in the lives of my kids.

As I continued, I began to notice changes. God’s presence came close and calmed my fears. My kid’s faith grew deeper and relationships grew stronger. Most of all my anxiety lessened. 

I believe this is what the Apostle Paul was getting at when he wrote,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

From a human perspective, there are many things to worry about as a mother. But I believe with all my heart, if you will choose to praise God above your fears, your anxiety will diminish and peace will replace panic.

What do you worry most about in your mothering journey? How might praising God diminish that anxiety?

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog!

Graphic adapted from an image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.